The Lincoln Speedway in Hanover, Pa., has changed ownership for the second time in less than four years.
A favorite track of drivers and fans in Carroll County, the high-banked half-mile clay oval was purchased two weeks ago by Don and Bob Leiby and Alan Kreitzer.
Lincoln is the third track in the central Pennsylvania Sprint Car circuit to change management or ownership in the last year.
The good news about the purchase is that Lincoln will continue to race on Saturday nights. There were rumors during the winter that the track would be sold to a developer who planned to build a golf course on adjacent land and the 60 acres that the track stood on.
Now race fans can be assured that racing will continue at Lincoln. All three men have extensive experience in auto racing.
The Leibys have been car owners for several years. They own the sprint car driven by Steve Smith, the winningest driver at Lincoln (145 career wins).
For the past two years, the Leibys co-promoted Williams Grove Speedway in Mechanicsburg, Pa. They enjoyed their first experience on the management side of the track. When their lease expired at Williams Grove, they were the first to express interest in Lincoln when it was announced the track was for sale.
Kreitzer has been the promoter of the family-owned Silver Springs Speedway in Mechanicsburg, Pa. Two years ago, he purchased the Susquehanna Speedway in Newberrytown, Pa., south of Harrisburg on Interstate 83.
Last fall, when the Leibys' lease expired at Williams Grove, Kreitzer, Robert Jones and Mickey Hughes became the new management team. Neither party expected to be working together four months later.
Kreitzer is involved in four tracks in the area. He will continue to operate Silver Springs and let the Leibys handle Lincoln. Kreitzer will be active at the Grove and Susky.
Lincoln Speedway has a lot of history. It has been home to many Carroll countians every Saturday night since it opened in the early '50s under Hilly Rife.
NASCAR drivers such as Richard Petty and A. J. Foyt have driven on the clay oval. It has been home to many of the best super-modified and super-sprint car drivers in the country every Saturday night.
Carroll County residents like Slim Devilbiss, Moe Harden, Bill McClelland and Al Shawver won track championships at Lincoln.
In the early '80s, the track was sold to Tom Livelsberger, a Hanoverautomobile dealer. He sold the track in July 1989 to contractors Gary Gregory and Weldon Sterner so he could devote more time to his five dealerships and church activities.
Although the crowds were good at Lincoln, they never approached the expectations of the last owners.
The new owners expect the track to recover the large crowds that it had in the '80s. That is good news not only to fans and drivers, but to area businesses as well.
The economic impact of Lincoln overflows into Carroll County, both directly and indirectly.
As drivers and fans drive through Carroll County en route to Lincoln, it results in an economic boost to a variety of businesses.
Unlike other major sports where the events take place in arenas and stadiums built by tax dollars, speedways are on private property where the owners pay real estate taxes.
The racing season at Lincoln will begin on March 6. Three divisions -- super sprints, semi-lates and thunder cars -- will be in competition.